comparison to what we may lose in the advantage we have now gained, the sickness of the men, and the loss of the campaign, which must be made in the next six weeks.
With a steam-tug or two, the quartermaster, commissary, and ordnance stores could be towed in flats from Richmond in a very few days, as it would shorten the hauling one-half. These boats would be invaluable at this time. The gunboats, not being under your control, cannot be relied on for the transportation of troops, while, at the same, time they can render move valuable service in transporting the army.
In every point of view, the, the importance of placing a number of transports below Vicksburg immediately cannot be overestimated, and I submit that a sufficient number should at once be sent down.
Your most obedient servant,
JOHN A. McClernand.
SMITH'S PLANTATION, La., April 18, 1863.
Major General John A. McClernand, Comdg. Thirteenth Army Corps;
I would still repeat instructions, that possession be gotten of Grand Gulf at the very curliest possible moment. Once there, no risk should be taken in following the enemy until our forces are concentrated. Troops first there should intrench themselves for safety, and the whole of your corps concentrated as rapidly as our means of transportation will permit. General McPherson will be closing upon you as rapidly as your troops can be gotten and rations supplied.
I see that great caution will have to be observed in getting barges past the crevasse near New Carthage, and I apprehend a loss of some artillery may be encountered.
I will send over at once the pontoon train, with men to lay it. It can at least be thrown across Bayou Vidal, opposite your headquarters, to enable troops and artillery to march a good portion of the way to Carthage. If it can possibly be laid so as to cross the levee crevasse near Carthage, it would be of much greater service. Should we succeed in getting steamers past Vicksburg, they will bring you a further supply of rations. In the mean time, all
the wagons, including all the regimental trains, should be kept constantly on the road between here and Milliken's Bend. The number of wagons available is increasing daily. Troops guarding the different points between here and Richmond should gather all
beef-cattle and forage within reach of them, and destroy no more they can use. I will be over here in a few days again, and hope it will be my good fortune to find you in safe possession of Grand Gulf.
You do not want to start, however, without feeling yourself secure in the necessary transportation.
U. S. GRANT.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE TENNESSEE, Number 108.
Milliken's Bend, La., April 18, 1863.
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II. Major General James B. McPherson, commanding SEVENTEENTH Army Corps, will move forward at once two regiments of his command to Richmond, La. They will take three days' rations.
III. Major General James B. McPherson, commanding SEVENTEENTH Army